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Tribute to Prof. Armando J. Malay

From Jose Maria Sison and family

16 May 2003

Julie, our children and I express our sincere condolences to the family of Prof. Armando Malay. We share the grief of his relatives, friends, former students and colleagues in the fields of education, journalism and human rights advocacy as well as in the mass movement for true national independence and democracy.

We feel a deep sense of loss as we pay tribute to Dean Malay for his outstanding achievements in his profession and militant service to the Filipino people. At the same time, we find comfort in the thought that the good dean has taken a well-deserved rest after a long meaningful and fruitful life.

I cherish the semesters that I attended his journalism and Rizal courses in the years 1957 to 1959. He was a very engaging teacher. He expressed his ideas seriously and enlivened the lessons with funny anecdotes. He was among the professors who contributed much to my maturation as a patriotic and progressive liberal, on the way to making a leap of conviction from the old to the new democratic revolution.

We became closer when I was elected the president of the UP Journalism Club of which he was the adviser. He encouraged the club and me in particular to invite Fr. Hilario Lim to speak on the Filipinization of the Catholic Church, especially the religious orders which were still foreign-dominated, and to fight for his right to speak in a forum at the university and for the right of the students to hear him.

Julie also attended the Rizal course of Prof. Malay and he appointed her as one of the monitors of his huge class at the college auditorium. As monitor, she checked the attendance and distributed and collected the exam papers. Thus, the two of us were always at ease whenever we visited one of his children at his Heroes’ Hill residence.

I observed Prof. Malay as a very hard working family man. When as his student I first met him, I came to know that he was holding three jobs: as a lecturer in the university, as an editor in the Manila Times and as a writer in an advertising company. Eventually, he increased his teaching hours at the university and became the dean of student affairs in the 1960s.

As dean of student affairs, he was highly respected and well loved by the students. I was in a position to know that he was supportive of the student organizations committed to the national democratic movement. He encouraged and joined the mass actions that upheld the rights and interests of the students and the people.

I always admired Prof. Malay for being supportive of Paula (Ayi) and their children when they became active in the national democratic movement. And my admiration for him rose immeasurably when I was in prison and I learned that he was active in the struggle against the US-sponsored Marcos fascist dictatorship and was in so many ways fighting for press freedom, the whole range of human rights and true national independence and democracy for the Filipino people.

He was imprisoned when Marcos cracked down on We Forum in the early eighties. But instead of being cowed, he fought back even harder against the dictatorship, writing steadfastly and marching at the forefront of mass protest actions. After his detention, he became more involved in looking after the rights and welfare of political prisoners. I benefited from his concern and attention.

Soon after my release from military detention in 1986, I had an exceedingly happy reunion with Dean Malay together with so many former political detainees and human rights activists. Subsequently, I visited him and Ayi a number of times before Julie and I left for abroad.

The spirit of Prof. Malay has always been with us. His patriotism and progressive commitment will continue to inspire us. He continues to live in our hearts and minds and in the annals of the national democratic movement. ###




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